information technology

Romney’s White Whale: Old Man’s IT and the Election That Got Away

Moby Dick

[Illustration from Moby Dick, c. 1925 edition]

ArsTechnica did a comparison between Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns’ information technology expenditures. They note a few key attributes that differentiate the Romney campaign’s use of IT:

  • Outsource anything that’s not a key competency, and spend as little as possible on it;
  • Reward “friends” with outsourcing contracts;
  • Spend on ad hoc items and pre-built SaaS* (buy from “friends” where possible).

Sure looks like the typical modus operandi of vulture capitalists that don’t invest but hit-and-run on the high seas, looking to harpoon anything of value in order to flay its carcass for cash. This says something both familiar and abhorrent about Mitt Romney and his supporters with regard to democracy.

But there are several other points that ArsTechnica missed in their assessment.

Generational shift — The difference in funds allocated and the way in which the IT monies were spent revealed a compelling truth: old guy Romney doesn’t value information technology the way younger guy Obama does. It’s a generational shift, from old school campaigns which still rely heavily on direct mail and broadcast media, to digital campaigns run by Gen-X and Millennials who are digital natives.

Based on past performance by vendors and team members alike, Obama’s team also trusts the technology team it assembled to do work quickly, effectively, on the fly. They trusted technology.

In contrast, Romney’s camp went with bigger brand name vendors like Best Buy (via service subsidiary) and SalesForce (for customer relationship management SaaS app). In mega-corporate they trust, apparently. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @BradMossEsq I don't. Know only what Clapper said, which is info declassified in response to Snowden. I'm not one inventing other reality.
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emptywheel Why does 9/11 report say we need more fearmongering if counterterrorism performance as good as it say it is? http://t.co/LnVR7IAW9T
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emptywheel 9/11 Report warns of "creeping tide of complacency" v rising threats in ME. Why threat rising if CT performance good? http://t.co/LnVR7IAW9T
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq Justifies? That your client was able to say things he almost certainly wouldn't have before? That's your question?
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq Yes, there is a whistleblowing process. Yes, in this case that was made easier bc Snowden leaked the info first.
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq No, your original, fanciful claim is this info is not declass bc of Snowden. Unless Clapper was lying abt his actions it is.
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq But to invent world in which Clapper didn't declass all that info in response to Snowden is simply fanciful.
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq And again, that's NOT to take away from your client. Now people will finally read what was in public domain bc of Snowden leaks
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq Very basic point: Snowden leaks. Clapper releases info saying he did so to respond. Your client writes op-ed on info.
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq Again, PLEASE stop mischaracterizing what I say so you can pretend things are something other than they are.
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emptywheel @Jj_nyappdefense Did I say that? Nope. But let's start w/McMillan's access to press, which not all inmates have.
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq That Clapper released all the info your client did, saying it was so he could respond to Snowden leaks.
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July 2014
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